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Full text of "Forty-Third Regular Meeting, October 4, 1881"

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Forty- Third Regular Meeting, October 4, 1881. 

Rev. J. Owen Dorsey read a translation, made by himself, of an 
Omaha myth, entitled The Orphan and the Buffalo Woman. 
The following is an abstract : 

Wahandhishige, the orphan, lived with his married sister, who 
was unkind to him. She never allowed him to eat any choice piece 
of meat, although her husband was a good hunter and brought 
plenty of game to the lodge. A buffalo woman visited the orphan 
when he was alone in the lodge, and made him eat some of the 
meat, restoring the piece from which it had been cut to its proper 
shape. This occurrence was repeated on three other days. Then 
the orphan followed the woman, overtaking her by evening at a 
white lodge on the prairie. While he slept the woman and lodge 
disappeared, and when he awoke he was lying on the grass. This 
happened on four days in succession. The myth then gives : ist. 
The adventure^ of the woman, after parting with the orphan ; 2d, 
The adventures of the orphan when in jjursuit of the woman. In 
the first part is told the birth of her child, the white calf, (some say 
two calves ;) his abduction by Ishtinike, the deceiver ; his escape 
and return to his mother. Then follow the adventures of the or- 
phan, showing how he overcame great difficulties that were destined 
to hinder his pursuit ; how he crossed the great water, a deep canon, 
a tract of land, covered with briers and thorns ; and how he went 
even to the upper world. Returning from the upper world he 
killed a number of the buffaloes ; then he took his family to his old 
home. He discovered himself to his unkind sister and her husband, 
who had been unfortunate since the departure of the orphan. They 
received him and his family, and were rewarded by the return of 
game and consequent prosperity. The sister profited by experience, 
and was ever thereafter kind to her brother and his family. 

The President of the Society read a paper on the Myths of the 


1 This paper will be published in a much enlarged form in the " Annual Report 
of the Bureau of Ethnology." 


In reply to an inquiry by Prof. Mason, Major Powell enumerated 
certain tribes of Indians that bury their dead by clans. 

Mr. Hinman stated that this was not the case with the Dakotas. 

Prof. Mason remarked that he had discovered in the myths re- 
lated by Mr. Dorsey and Major Powell a material substratum to the 
mythical ; that is, the myth seemed to account for the origin of 
inexplicable phenomena, by means of things no longer regarded as 

Major Powell replied that this idea proceeded from a mis- 
understanding of the nature of Indian philosophy. With sav- 
ages the production of effects at a distance from the cause does 
not require the intervention of a material medium. He reviewed 
the progress of the conception of wind through the different 
grades of social progress, as seen in the Norse, the Greek, and the 
later mythologies. 

In reply to a question by Mr. Guss, he stated that he presumed 
the order in which the different animals were slam by the boy 
prodigy as he grew older correctly represented the degrees of 
difficultness with which the Indians regard the capture of these 
animals ; the eagle, which was the last named, being taken by them 
only with great skill. 

Forty-Fourth Regular Meeting, October i8, 1881. 

Mr. S. D. Hinman read a paper on The Stone God, or Ora- 

This oracle was seen by him while on an expedition with some 
Dakotan Indians across the James River Valley, in Dakota Terri- 
tory. A Hunkpati man of the party gave the history of the stone, 
arid an account of its miraculous movement from the Sacred Hill 
to the old dirt lodge village. This story Mr. Hinman related. 
He then explained what the Dakota stone god is and the worship 
paid to it. It was then shown from old papers preserved by the 
Massachusetts Historical Society that this worship was probably